[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he upcoming Roswell Army Air Base at the time announced that a “flying disk” had been recovered. The story was quickly rescinded and the universe was seemingly split between those who believe the initial account and those who don’t. The officially corrected version and follow-up explanations long after the fact declared that the debris was from a secret research balloon project code-named MOGUL and that the “small bodies” recovered in the crash were not aliens, but test dummies.
The UFO Museum said all 20 speakers were major researchers. “We’re really excited about Roswell Legacy, published in 2008, his father Roswell narrative, on the other hand, side with the scientific consensus. From nearly the beginning, Edward Teller remembered walking to lunch at Fuller Lodge with three other Nobel Laureate Enrico Fermi. Teller, often identified as “the father of the hydrogen bomb,” said he had kind of a vague memory, “that we talked about flying saucers and the obvious statement that the flying saucers are not real.”
Over lunch, Teller recalled that in the middle of the conversation, “Fermi came out with the quite unexpected question, ‘Where is everybody?’ ” The group laughed, Teller explained, because even though it came out of the blue, they knew it was about extraterrestrials. Despite all the talk about aliens and flying saucers, Fermi was asking why we had seen no sign of them so far.
Fermi’s question would become known as the Fermi Paradox. Another member of the group, Herbert York, continued the story in a letter. “[Fermi] then followed up with a series of calculations on the probability of Earth-like planets, the probability of Roswell, there can be little doubt that this most famous of alien encounters had a great deal to do with the birth of whole new field of science. The search for other intelligent life in the universe that was casually born in life, or astrobiology. Fermi’s paradox and back-of-the-envelope calculations were the first steps toward a formulation known as the Drake Equation, conceived by astronomer Frank Drake in 1961 that identified seven factors thought to determine how many technological civilizations exist in our galaxy. Numbers for those variables have grown more certain since then, and Drake wrote an essay in the International Journal of Astrobiology this year in which he said, “It is gratifying to know that over the years the Equation has not been found erroneous: It is alive and well in its original form.”
Eric Jones, the LANL astronomer who did the research on the birth of the Fermi Paradox, went on to co-edit a book published in 1985, Interstellar Migration and the Human Experience, which includes his findings for the Los Alamos monograph in an appendix. Among many other developments in this field, last year the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency began funding the 100-year Starship program to develop capabilities for human interstellar travel by the next century.
ROGER SNODGRASS - The Santa Fe New Mexican